T20 World Cup 2020: 4 things that India will need to ensure a successful campaign
- India will need to tighten a few screws before they go into the T20 World Cup
With the T20 World Cup already in sight, all teams are busy in preparation. Be it the inclusion of more T20s in an international series, or rotating their talent so that the best combination can be picked, all cricketing nations have only one sight in mind for the year 2020 - The T20 World Cup in Australia.
The men in blue, in particular, would be looking to gain what was once theirs. Having been the winners of the trophy in its inaugural year - 2007, the Indian cricket team hasn't quite been able to get there again. What would be hurting them even more, is the losses in knockout games of recent ICC tournaments like the last Champions Trophy, and the 50 over as well as T20 World Cup.
Virat Kohli's men would want that to change and would be eyeing this year's World Cup hoping it could be the dawn of a new era where India follow through on their glorious league stage performances.
Here are 5 things that India need to ensure if they want to get close to the trophy.
#1 Back KL Rahul as wicket-keeper and opener
India's newest T20I keeper, KL Rahul is in the middle of a glorious purple patch. The move to make Rahul keep wickets came from the Indian management, after a continuous string of failures from Rishabh Pant and from a underwhelming Sanju Samson, though he was not backed as much.
However, the problem seems to have found a solution with Rahul doing a great job with both bat and gloves. Additionally, he also frees up a batting spot in the XI. The only concern for skipper Kohli would be Rahul's batting position.
Granted that Rahul has been flexible and has performed at every batting position in recent times, but the question that's be running through his mind is - Would Rahul's talent be wasted batting at number 5? Given his recent exploits against New Zealand in the T20I series, it looks clear that he must be backed not only as the wicket-keeper, but also as an opener along with Rohit Sharma.
#2 A Virat Kohli who is back in form
Kohli, who hasn't had much of a rough patch in his illustrious career, has not had solid performances to his name in the last two series that India have played. Coming off solid knocks against the West Indies, where he let the bat do the talking against Kesrick Williams and co. the Indian skipper wasn't able to replicate the performances thereafter.
Kohli's last 6 T20I innings have seen him score 161 runs with an average of 32.2. While this is not bad, per se, it is definitely not what Kohli himself would be satisfied by. Being the best batsman in the side, he would be disappointed that he hasn't even managed a half-century in 2020, with his highest score being 45.
On the plus side, he does have plenty of match practice in the form of the South Africa series as well as a long schedule at the IPL. Kohli will be looking back to get back to his former self, which will, in turn, help India get closer to the trophy.
#3 Hardik Pandya to be fit
India's first permanent answer to the medium pace bowling all-rounder since Kapil Dev, Hardik Pandya has been a real X-factor, especially in T20s. Pandya has been fantastic in T20s, both for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL as well as for the national side, with performances that have many-a-times gotten the team out of trouble.
Unfortunately, Pandya has been dealing with injuries and just recently made an appearance at the DY Patil Cup. While this was a domestic tournament, it was still match practice for Pandya who looked fitter than he had ever been. Pandya has gone on on to smash two quick centuries in the tournament, proving that he's back.
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However, the concern for team India would be the replication of Pandya's domestic performances in the international scenario, especially on a stage where he would be competing with the best of the best.
#4 Jasprit Bumrah to go back to his 'pre-injury' self
Over the years, while the Indian team was always famous for the class of the batting department, they never had bowlers that would scare batsmen - be it with pace or unplayable line and length.
All that changed with the entry of Jasprit Bumrah into the arena, as he has now made a name for himself as the death overs specialist. Being a natural wicket-taker who can predict the batsman's moves, Bumrah is among the best fast bowlers in the world. If India want a serious shot at the title, Jasprit Bumrah's performances in the death overs the games will be key.
However, since being struck with injury, Bumrah hasn't looked the same, as he not only leaked runs in the games he played, but also took close to no wickets. This obviously is a cause of concern for the Indian team, given how crucial Bumrah's contributions have been for the squad. He is back but not at full tilt. Still, there is time to peak and that is equally important.